Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Recyclable Cathedral in New Zealand

Posted by on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 12:47 PM

An artist rendering of the proposed cardboard church. Image courtesy AP Photo / Anglican diocese of Christchurch.
  • An artist rendering of the proposed cardboard church. Image courtesy AP Photo / Anglican diocese of Christchurch.

As reported by the Associated Press this week, construction should begin in the coming months to rebuild Christchurch Cathedral, which was destroyed in an earthquake last year. But it won't quite be built to last, as the plans stand now. And it won't be built of the same materials.

It will be replaced by a temporary structure built out of cardboard, rather. And it will be an ersatz place of worship for ten years as a more permanent replacement is planned and realized.

104 tubes will be the primary cardboard components of the 82-foot high, weatherproof and fire-resistant cathedral, although other materials will be brought into the mix as well to provide greater structural integrity, including concrete, steel, wood, polycarbonate roofing and shipping containers.

The estimated cost of such a structure? About 4 million dollars.

Its foreseen fate? Well, it will at least be recyclable, say planners, in some way.

And while it's up and welcoming visitors, it's imaginable that it could draw religious pilgrims and eco-friendly solution enthusiasts alike.

An NYC-related note: Upon mentioning the news to a friend of mine today, I learned that there's a bit of local interest to the story as well. The Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban, who has built similarly innovative temporary structures elsewhere, went to Cooper Union.


You can follow Paul D'Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

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